I always intended to use this blog more than I do. However, just like everything in life I get busy and things get put on the wait list and then pushed aside. I have been thinking about it a lot lately and decided I will do my best to get back to posting on this thing. Be it bands you should check out, show updates or like this post a big fucking rant.
Lately I have found myself in this frustrating catch 22 with everything booking related. I know that if I cease to do it I will be unfulfilled and miserable but if I do it chances are I will end up frustrated and somehow pissed off %50 of the time. Mostly, it is things I can endure and ignore and just continue to do my job. I sat down recently and thought about it what are the sources of my frustrations with booking?..... That led me to a landslide of thoughts on the underground music scene in a whole. I thought I'd share those with you all be it if you are in a band, do the same thing as I or you can just understand where people are coming from I felt my thoughts were worth being shared.
Just in the past decade alone (damn, I'm old) I have watched the once thriving underground music scene(s) go from complete awesomeness to complete shit. Not just here, everywhere. There of course are several factors that have proven to be the reasons for this.
Major reason number 1 - THE INTERNET.
The internet has made people lazy. There is no longer any work in obtaining the music you want to hear. You don't have to seek out bands or trade tapes to get the music you want. You can just look it up and download it. For free, also adding to the decline in the music industry. The consumer, the fan has become lazy about the stuff they like. To be a dedicated fan it takes no more than clicking the like button on a facebook page and illegally downloading the bands album.
Bands are lazy because of it too. Fuck going out and telling people about my band.. I will just spam the fuck out of everyone including my grandmother on social networking sites about my band. Got a show? Digital flyer. Only posted to the internet.
Then with all that, the said band gets 20,000 "likes" or friends on a social networking site, there goes their head and ego. A false sense of entitlement. I can't tell you how many times in booking of recent times a band has told me how great their fan base is because they have 8 million friends on a social site but when it comes to a live show they draw 0.
With that all comes laziness abound. Bands no longer think it's important to respond to things, to post important things. It makes you lazy. I'm guilty of it. If you are reading this even if it doesn't apply in the same situation, you're most likely guilty of it too.
Underground bands once thrived hard because it was hard work that got them where they were. To be a band of importance back before the internet you had to tour, you had to promote. You couldn't sit back in front of a computer and tour once every 2 years.
Reason number 2 - RECORD LABELS
The currently state of the economy and the fact that no matter what people do to stop it music can be pirated anytime, anywhere with no effort - the music business of most record labels is dead. They don't have the money they once did to promote bands properly. To support their touring, to put out their records properly. Now a days, even if a band has a label they do most of their own promotion and touring work on their dime. Which leads to jaded pricky musicians. I can't hate for that, in that case I would probably be a little pissed too.
Reason number 3 - VENUES/PROMOTERS
As stated above the economy is shit right now. Everyone has to fight a little harder to make what they make and keep it. One thing I noticed here in my hometown is that the harder it gets the venues get greedier. They want to charge you so much to run a show it hardly leaves you money to pay your bands with. They like to use cute words for it so the rape seems less painful such as "production costs" There was such a day when you used to just pay your sound guy, pay your door guy and make sure your bartender gets hooked up. Don't let venues fool you their cash cow is booze sales. If the bar is doing good there is no reason they should want all your money your show made. It's bullshit. It's a scam and its benefiting off other peoples hard work.
As far as promoters go, they are your middle man to your band and the venue. They are the bullshit buffer. They are there to pamper your ass facilitate a show and avenue for you to rock out. In a lot of cases the headache they go through is definitely worth some form of compensation. However there are a lot of promoters out there that will fuck bands and try to hand them 0-$10. That's bullshit. If there is 5 people that came to see you it's worth more than that.
I am a promoter/booker. I don't keep money for myself. Sometimes, I wish I did to compensate for the migraine I get in return but I started doing this for the love of a scene and the music and that's probably how it will end. I never get more pissed off than when I hear of a promoter fucking over bands and running with the cash. Get a day job you fucking hack.
In most cases of slimey promoters it's some jackhole that has no musical talent whatsoever. They don't want to work a real job but has always wanted to be a musician, so this is great for them because they can live through the bands by booking them and profiting off their backs.
I am sure I could continue to ramble on my reasons for why the music business is fucked. I could probably go on for days. Those are the main points.
In regard to those reasons I'm sure some of you can guess as to why doing what I do can be a pain in the ass sometimes. Shit rolls downhill.... You see....
Let's say you got a band that is fairly well known, they have a label that could give a dick less about them that dosen't support what they do financially at all. Let's say they need to tour. Let's also say that they have 40000 internet warrior fans. Let's say they are booking with me. Here I am dealing with a super pissed off money hungry band with an inflated sense of self entitlement that is putting monetary demands on me along with any other demands they see fit. Could you image how angry this could make me? Then at the same time you have this rabid fan asking you about the show and when and how it's going down and you grin and smile... If they only knew. But that's besides the point because you want to make them happy. Because somewhere 13 years ago, someone else was doing the same thing you are now that made you love music.
Bottom line is... If you make music, do it because it makes you happy. Never forget why you started playing music. If you become a jaded fuck rockstart, usually there is no turning back.
If you book shows like I do, may the force be with you and remember your satisfaction can only be brought by the fan that says thank you to you.
If your the demanding jaded musician reading this, the only thing that might work in your favor is to travel back in time and kill the internet. You may have a chance then for your wildest dreams to come true. In the meantime think about how you treat people who treat you good and try to some them a morsel of respect. Even if you tell someone fuck off or fuck you that is working hard for you atleast you gave them something to go on.
-Evil Abby 7-2010